team_michaelMusic Educator

What is your background?

I was born in Tasmania, grew up in Melbourne, spent a while in Europe and India and have lived in NSW for 14 years.

What do you remember best about primary school?

I was very good at all sports and loved AFL footy. I still do! My best friend was Wimbledon champion Pat Cash. He was the fastest runner, I was the second fastest. One day in the playground he ran past me so fast that he clipped my finger and snapped it sideways. I was screaming in pain and my sister held me in her arms. That was the first time I remember knowing how much she loved and cared for me.

What did you do career-wise before joining BCPS?

I have always worked as a musician and I have even won an ARIA award! I am a writer, singer, guitarist, musical director and music educator. I consider myself as a disciple of the visionary surf guitar avatar Link Wray and have played with amazing bands around the world since the 1980s. Previous roles include teaching children, running workshops for teachers and being the musical director of the Ethnic Business Awards in 2007 (broadcast to 45 countries worldwide). I have created two fantastic children’s CDs: http://www.spikeyandfriends.com.au and Peaceful Stars.

Where else have you worked and how has it shaped your general outlook and your approach to teaching children today?

I taught English through songs to tribal children in Maharashtra, India and worked with kids in remote Indigenous communities around Australia. Working in these remote schools here and overseas teaching ESL with music, movement and singing, has shaped much of my approach to my BCPS classes. I aspire to engage, inspire, share and help hone musical skills with each child in my music sessions.

Why do you enjoy teaching at BCPS?

I love teaching at BCPS. It feels like home. I’ve been singing and playing music with students here since my daughter Lela (now in Year 9) began as a K2 Dolphin and it’s such great fun. It’s also an honour to be a part of students’ musical experiences, from wide-eyed little K2 Dolphins through to confident young graduating Year 6 Whales.

What do you enjoy teaching the most?

I love sourcing and writing songs to support the school themes and focus for each term, such as Our Community, Environment, Machines/Inventions, Human Body/Health and Space. I also love supporting the students with their musical expression in performances such as our Winter Solstice Lantern Parade, Open Day/Fiesta and the End Of Year Performances. I also really enjoy helping the Whales realise their musical potential in their own bands.

What is your greatest achievement?

My daughter Lela.

What aspirations still lie ahead of you?

Life is great, more of the same thanks! I hope to work again with kids in an unknown remote community and return to the communities I visited in the past.

What occupies your time outside school hours?

Playing music, surfing, sailing, meditating, chanting, walking in nature and watching AFL.